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4 Tips On How to Select a Medical Translation Company

How to Select a Medical Translation CompanyIf you’re a medical company or medical-device manufacturer and need to localize your content for a global market, you want to select a language service provider (LSP) who specializes in the medical industry. Accurate translations are imperative for the medical world, and because of their complex nature, you should partner with an LSP who can provide the certifications, quality processes, professional medical translators and proven expertise. Here are some questions to ask an LSP if you’re looking for a medical translation company.


  1. Which Certifications Does the LSP Have?
    An LSP who serves the medical industry needs to follow a more stringent quality control process. An LSP should have the ISO 9001:2015 certification, which is a standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system for any business in any industry. However, the ISO 9001:2015 certification really isn’t enough for LSPs who serve the medical industry.

    ISO 17100:2015
    is a quality standard that’s similar to ISO 9001:2015 except it’s specific to translation service providers. It outlines processes that should be documented and implemented in a consistent way, resources that are required and other items in order to deliver high-quality translations. This is a good standard for LSPs to have since it pertains to the translation industry.ISO 13485:2016 is a standard that outlines specific quality management system requirements for businesses that provide medical devices and related services. Not many LSPs have this standard but it’s really good for LSPs who specialize in the medical industry.

    Ideally, the LSP will have all three of these certifications as it shows commitment to high-quality translations and the medical industry. Net-Translators has all three certifications.

  2. What Type of Quality Process Does the LSP Follow?
    Producing high-quality translations in the medical industry is imperative since you could be working with content that deals with life and death situations. It’s extremely important to know what type of quality process the LSP follows and how they measure it, since it can be quite difficult to measure quality unless you’ve defined it. For example, terminology can be critical in the medical industry and it should be defined before a project begins.

    One element of the translation process that’s important to have in place is a review of the translation by someone other than the translator. A trained reviewer will evaluate the translation for the items that are important to your business as well as other general things.
    In addition, the LSP should have automated quality assurance (QA) tests in place to verify things like number accuracy, adherence to terminology and more. Not all LSPs have these tools in place so you should inquire about them.

    Some LSPs also have a quality control (QC) department where, in addition to the QA process, they review the documents to compare them between languages. They look for things like linguistic, cosmetic and functional issues. For example, at Net-Translators, we have a 40-point checklist that we use to compare content between languages. This is another important quality process that some LSPs incorporate.

    A back translation is common in the medical industry, especially for pharmaceutical companies. A back translation is when content is translated into a certain language and then it’s translated back into the original language. For example, a document is created in English, translated into Spanish and then translated back into English. The second English document is then compared to the original. If a back translation is a requirement for your business, make sure the LSP can manage this process.

  3. Are the Translators Specialized?
    Medical translations shouldn’t be done by any translator; they require native-speaking, medical linguists located in the desired country. The medical industry is full of very specific terminology and it requires linguists who understand the complex medical concepts. An LSP should employ or contract with professionally-trained, medical linguists. In addition to expert linguists, an LSP should have an experienced team including project managers, localization engineers, medical industry experts and professional testers.The LSP should also offer to train the translators and their team on your specific products and / or services. The more knowledgeable they are, the better the translations will be.
  4. Who Are the LSP’s Clients?
    Does the LSP have medical clients and who are they? Check out the LSP’s website as a starting point to see what types of industries they serve and who they list as clients. You can also ask them for a medical client list. You definitely want an LSP who has proven themselves with well-known companies.You can also ask the LSP for medical references and then get feedback from the clients directly. Although this takes some time, you want an LSP that you can partner with and trust for the long-term, so it’s worth the investment.


At Net-Translators, we specialize in medical translations and we work with many of the largest and best-known medical device manufacturers in the world. We translate and localize content in over 60 languages and we have the expertise to know what’s required. As one example, read about how we partnered with Biosense Webster, a diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac catheter design company, to innovate their translation process.

Learn more about Net-Translators by following our LinkedIn Company Page or by reaching out to the office nearest you.


David Sommer

For roughly a decade I have been helping people around the world gain access to the world's leading products and services by making them accessible in their native language. My previous experience with a national standards institute taught me how to achieve quality and present the results.  Having started at Net-Translators as a Localization Project Manager winding up a Senior Localization Manager, and finally to my current position as Director of Strategic Operations, I have learned much about the industry, but more importantly, I have focused continually on how I can improve processes and deliverables in a theoretical as well as practical manner. I am constantly on the lookout to learn more about our industry and implement new ideas.


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